Loud calls to prayer raise ire of residents
A GROUP of Boston residents has lodged complaints with local government officials about what they say is an overly loud call to prayer from a mosque in Bellville where mostly Somalis worship.
The group claim they are prepared to go to court with their nuisance complaint since nothing is being done to reduce the noise levels coming from the mosque in Durban Road.
Hugo de Villiers, a Boston resident, said the group had lodged complaints since 2009.
They have now asked MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde to investigate their complaints.
De Villiers and other residents live approximately 5km from the section of the Bellville CBD where the mosque is situated. He said the mosque was also operating illegally as it was only meant to be a prayer room for business owners during trading hours.
“It is insane to be woken up by that noise at 4am. We have tried everything, but they just don’t want to stop. I don’t think that there shouldn’t be a mosque, but they need to put a limit to the noise,” De Villiers said.
He said their complaint was not a religious or political issue, but that the area was dominated by Somalis and that the area had recently attracted criminal activity.
The ward councillor for the Boston area, Leonore van der Walt, said: “The residents allege the call for prayer is loud enough to constitute a nuisance.”
However, she added: “We have taken decibel readings in the area during prayer-call times and simultaneously in the Boston area and we found that there is no disturbance or nuisance. In Boston it did not exceed the nuisance level, but we asked residents to take down the times and how long the noise lasts for, and submit affidavits saying how it impacts on them. We can then take it to court and residents may be called to testify and a magistrate can decide.”
Other than the noise issue, Van der Walt said she had not received any other complaints about the area.
De Villiers said: “It would be insane to deny these people a mosque, but the mosque summarises the problems in the area. These people are invading the area and establishing their own environment, that’s why there are problems. Because they don’t abide by the rules, they force their own way on everyone.”
He said local businesses owners complained they were being threatened by Somalis.
Tammy Evans, spokesperson for Winde, said he had received the complaint and would visit the area with city officials and the MEC for community Safety to do an assessment of the area and investigate the complaints.
CULTURAL CROSSING: A Somali woman and children cross a Durban Road in Bellville which is densely occupied by Somali shop owners. Somalis say the area is the only place where they feel safe in Cape Town.